Creating Lasting Change
- Step One: Raise your standards – Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards. When people ask me what really changed my life 30 years ago, I tell them that absolutely the most important thing was changing what I demanded of myself.
- Step Two: Change your limiting beliefs – Changing our belief systems is central to making any real and lasting change in our lives. We must develop a sense of certainty that we can and will meet the new standards before we actually do. Without taking control of your belief systems, you can raise your standards as much as you like, but you’ll never have the conviction to back them up.
- Step Three: Change your strategy – In order to keep your commitment, you need the best strategies for achieving results. One of my core beliefs is that if you set a higher standard, and you can get yourself to believe, then you certainly can figure out the strategies.
Together, we will concentrate on (not dabble in!) the mastery of the five areas of life that I believe impact us most. They are:
- Emotional Mastery – In this book, you will discover what makes you do what you do, and the triggers for the emotions you experience most often. You will then be given a step-by-step plan to show you how to identify which emotions are empowering, which are disempowering, and how to use both kinds to your best advantage so that your emotions become not a hindrance, but instead a powerful tool in helping you achieve your highest potential.
- Physical Mastery – This second master lesson will help you take control of your physical health so that you not only look good, but you feel good and know that you’re in control of your life, in a body that radiates vitality and allows you to accomplish your outcomes.
- Relationship Mastery – Then, as you achieve mastery of this all-important skill, you will learn how to connect with people at the deepest level and be rewarded with something we all want to experience: a sense of contribution, of knowing that we have made a difference in other people’s lives.
- Financial Mastery – The fourth master lesson in this book will teach you how to go beyond the goal of mere survival in your autumn years of life, and even now, for that matter. Because we have the good fortune to live in a capitalist society, each of us has the capability to carry out our dreams.
- Time Mastery – The fifth master lesson in this book will teach you, first, how short-term evaluations can lead to long-term pain. Next you’ll learn how to design the necessary maps and strategies for following up on your decision. Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year—and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!
Decisions: The Pathway to Power
In Unlimited Power, I made it abundantly clear that the most powerful way to shape our lives is to get ourselves to take action. The difference in the results that people produce comes down to what they’ve done differently from others in the same situations. Different actions produce different results.
The three decisions that control your destiny are:
- Your decisions about what to focus on.
- Your decisions about what things mean to you.
- Your decisions about what to do to create the results you desire.
One of the most important decisions you can make to ensure your long-term happiness is to decide to use whatever life gives you in the moment. The truth of the matter is that there’s nothing you can’t accomplish if: 1) You clearly decide what it is that you’re absolutely committed to achieving, 2) You are willing to take massive action, 3) You notice what’s working or not, and 4) You continue to change your approach until you achieve what you want, using whatever life gives you along the way.
Life’s Most Important Lesson
The most important lesson we learn in life is what creates pain for us and what creates pleasure. This lesson is different for each of us and, therefore, so are our behaviors.
What you link pain to and what you link pleasure to shapes your destiny
If we link massive pain to any behavior or emotional pattern, we will avoid indulging in it at all costs. We can use this understanding to harness the force of pain and pleasure to change virtually anything in our lives.
Ultimately, in order for a change to last, we must link pain to our old behavior and pleasure to our new behavior, and condition it until it’s consistent. Remember, we will all do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure.
Belief Systems: The Power to Create and Destroy
So often we’re seduced into believing that events control our lives and that our environment has shaped who we are today. No greater lie was ever told. It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.
All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs. So how do we change? The most effective way is to get your brain to associate massive pain to the old belief. You must feel deep in your gut that not only has this belief caused you pain in the past, but it’s costing you pleasure in the present and, ultimately, can only bring you pain in the future.
New experiences trigger change only if they cause us to question our beliefs. Remember, whenever we believe something, we no longer question it in any way. The moment we begin to honestly question our beliefs, we no longer feel absolutely certain about them.
Change Can Happen in an Instant
Why is it that most people think change takes so long? One reason, obviously, is that most people have tried again and again through willpower to make changes, and failed. The assumption that they then make is that important changes must take a long time and be very difficult to make. In reality, it’s only difficult because most of us don’t know how to change! We don’t have an effective strategy.
There are three specific beliefs about responsibility that a person must have if they’re going to create long-term change:
- First, we must believe, “Something must change”—not that it should change, not that it could or ought to, but that it absolutely must.
- Second, we must not only believe that things must change, but we must believe, “I must change it.” We must see ourselves as the source of the change.
- Third, we have to believe, “I can change it.
Without these three core beliefs, I can assure you that any change you make stands a good chance of being only temporary. You have to be the source of your change.
How to Get What You Really Want
Whatever you desire or crave, perhaps you should ask yourself, “Why do I want these things?”. What it all comes down to is the fact that you want things or results because you see them as a means to achieving certain feelings, emotions, or states that you desire.
One of the most powerful distinctions that I’ve made in the last ten years of my life is simply this: Emotion is created by motion. Everything that we feel is the result of how we use our bodies. Even the most minute changes in our facial expressions or our gestures will shift the way that we’re feeling in any moment, and therefore the way we evaluate our lives—the way we think and the way we act.
What are some things you can do immediately to change your state and therefore how you feel and how you perform? Take deep breaths in through your nose and exhale strongly through your mouth. Put a huge grin on your face and smile at your children. If you really want to change your life, commit for the next seven days to spending one minute, five times a day, grinning from ear to ear in the mirror.
If you wanted to, couldn’t you get depressed at a moment’s notice? You bet you could, just by focusing on something in your past that was horrible. If you wanted to feel like you were in ecstasy right now, could you? You could do this just as easily. Could you focus on or remember a time when you were in absolute, total ecstasy? Could you focus on how your body felt? Could you remember it with such vivid detail that you are fully associated to those feelings again? You bet you could.
Focus is not true reality, because it’s one view; it’s only one perception of the way things really are. Think of that view—the power of our focus—as being a camera lens. The camera lens shows only the picture and angle of what you are focused on. Because of that, photographs you take can easily distort reality, presenting only a small portion of the big picture.
Emotions of Power
I believe there are four basic ways in which people deal with emotion. Which of these have you used today?
- Avoidance. We all want to avoid painful emotions. As a result, most people try to avoid any situation that could lead to the emotions that they fear—or worse, some people try not to feel any emotions at all!
- Denial. A second approach to dealing with emotion is the denial strategy. People often try to disassociate from their feelings by saying, “It doesn’t feel that bad.
- Competition. Many people stop fighting their painful emotions and decide to fully indulge in them. It becomes a “badge of courage,” and they begin to compete with others, saying, “You think you’ve got it bad?
- Learning and using. If you want to make your life really work, you must make your emotions work for you.
Realize that the emotions you are feeling at this very moment are a gift, a guideline, a support system, a call to action. If you suppress your emotions and try to drive them out of your life, or if you magnify them and allow them to take over everything, then you’re squandering one of life’s most precious resources.
The ten emotions of power:
- Love and warmth
- Appreciate and gratitude
- Excitement and passion
Challenge: The Ten-Day Mental Challenge
For the next ten days, beginning immediately, commit to taking full control of all your mental and emotional faculties by deciding right now that you will not indulge in or dwell on any unresourceful thoughts or emotions for ten consecutive days.
Remember, our goal is not to ignore the problems of life, but to put ourselves in better mental and emotional states where we can not only come up with solutions, but act upon them.
In life, never spend more than 10 percent of your time on the problem, and spend at least 90 percent of your time on the solution. Most important, don’t sweat the small stuff… and remember, it’s all small stuff!
Strategies From: Taking Control—The Master System (Part 2)
Life Values: Your Personal Compass
If we want the deepest level of life fulfillment, we can achieve it in only one way: by deciding upon what we value most in life, what our highest values are, and then committing to live by them every single day.
Values guide our every decision and, therefore, our destiny. Those who know their values and live by them become the leaders of our society. They are exemplified by outstanding individuals throughout our nation, from the boardroom to the classroom.
Anytime you have difficulty making an important decision, you can be sure that it’s the result of being unclear about your values.
Step One: Gain awareness of what your current values are so you understand why you do what you do. What are the emotional states you are moving toward, and what are the states you are moving away from? By reviewing your lists side by side, you’ll be able to have an understanding of the force that’s creating your present and future.
Step Two: You can then make conscious decisions about what values you want to live by in order to shape the quality of life and destiny you truly desire and deserve.
Rules: Setting Up the Game So You Can Win
Let me ask you a question before we go any further. What has to happen in order for you to feel good? The truth is that nothing has to happen in order for you to feel good. You could feel good right now for absolutely no reason whatsoever!
As long as we structure our lives in a way where our happiness is dependent upon something we cannot control, then we will experience pain.
You need to understand that whether or not you feel like you’re achieving your values is totally dependent upon your rules—your beliefs about what has to happen for you to feel successful or happy or experiencing love.
Competence is an interesting rule. Some people’s rule for competence is, “If I’ve done something perfectly over a period of years, then I’m competent.” Other people’s rule is, “If I’ve done it effectively once, then I’m competent.” And for others, competence is, “If I’ve done anything like it, then I know I can master this as well, and therefore I’m competent.
The solution is very simple. All we have to do to make our lives work is set up a system of evaluating that includes rules that are achievable, that make it easy to feel good and hard to feel bad, that constantly pull us in the direction we want to go.
Identity: The Key to Expansion
What exactly is identity? It is simply the beliefs that we use to define our own individuality, what makes us unique—good, bad, or indifferent—from other individuals.
Your capability is constant, but how much of it you use depends upon the identity you have for yourself. For example, if you feel certain that you are an outgoing, outrageous person, you’ll tap the resources of behavior that match your identity.
Isn’t my identity limited by my experience?” No, it’s limited by your interpretation of your experience. Your identity is nothing but the decisions you’ve made about who you are, what you’ve decided to fuse yourself with. You become the labels you’ve given yourself. The way you define your identity defines your life.
Let me offer you the answer to these two questions. First, you do know who you are. Yes, you can come up with the answer if you take a moment to brainstorm a bit right now. But you’ve got to trust yourself to let whatever answers come out of you just flow, and write them down. Second, the benefit to knowing who you are is the ability to instantaneously shape all of your behaviors.
Challenge: Who Am I? The Power That Shapes Your Life
To assist you in defining yourself, remember that identity is simply what distinguishes you from everyone else. Here are a couple of exercises I think you will enjoy.
- If you were to look in the dictionary under your name, what would it say?
- If you were to create an ID card that would represent who you truly are, what would be on it—and what would you leave off?
Tools From: The Seven Days to Shape Your Life (Part 3)
Emotional Destiny Exercise: The Only True Success
Your Outcome: Take control of your consistent emotions and begin to consciously and deliberately reshape your daily experience of life.
- Write down all the emotions that you experience in an average week.
- List the events or situations you use to trigger these emotions.
- Come up with an antidote for each negative emotion, and employ one of the appropriate tools for responding to the Action Signal.
Relationship Destiny Exercise: The Place to Share and Care
Your Outcome: Measurably enhance the quality of your personal relationships, and deepen your emotional connection with the people you care about most by reviewing the six fundamentals of successful relationships.
- Take the time today to talk with your significant other and find out what’s most important to each of you in your relationship.
- Decide that it’s more important for you to be in love than to be right.
- Develop a pattern interrupt that you both agree to use when things become most heated.
- When you feel resistance, communicate it with softeners.
- Plan regular date nights together, preferably once a week, or at the minimum, two times a month.
- Make sure you get a good, wet kiss every day!
Master Your Time & Life Exercise
Your Outcome: Learn how to use time to your advantage rather than allowing it to rule your levels of satisfaction and stress.
- Throughout this day, begin to explore changing time frames. Whenever you’re feeling the pressures of the present, stop and think about the future in ways that are empowering.
- Learn to deliberately distort time. For something that normally seems to take a long time to complete, add another component that will not only speed up your perception of time, but allow you to accomplish two things at once (e.g. running and listening to an audio book).
- Write a to-do list that prioritizes according to importance instead of urgency.
Secrets From: A Lesson in Destiny (Part 4)
The Secret to Living Is Giving
Probably the most pervasive false belief most of us harbor is the fallacy that only some superhuman act would have the power to turn our problems around. Nothing could be further from the truth. Life is cumulative. Whatever results we’re experiencing in our lives are the accumulation of a host of small decisions we’ve made as individuals, as a family, as a community, as a society, and as a species.
Here are some of the ways you can help. A small amount of time can make a big difference. Consider the possibility of committing a few hours a week or a few hours a month in one of the following areas within your community:
- Programs for the mentally and physically disabled
- Voter registration
- Energy conservation
- Park maintenance
- Big Brother/Big Sister programs
- Emergency aid
- Volunteering at a local soup kitchen
Shout out to Paul Minors from paulminors.com for doing this written summary